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16 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Aug. 12, 2021)

The Real Deal breaks down how the bipartisan infrastructure bill could affect the real estate industry. A survey of real estate pros in Chicago found a majority said workers should be vaccinated to return to offices, according to Bisnow. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. What’s in the $1T infrastructure bill for real estate “The Associated General Contractors of America, whose members would benefit from the plan approved Tuesday, urged the House to pass it as quickly as possible. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that the chamber will not vote on the initial bill until the Senate passes the more extensive measure.” (The Real Deal)
  2. Covid-19 Rent-Relief Program Marred by Delays, Confusion, Burdensome Paperwork “While the program is overseen by the Treasury, it relies on a patchwork of more than 450 state, county and municipal governments and charitable organizations to distribute aid. The result: months of delays as local governments built new programs from scratch, hired staff and crafted rules for how the money should be distributed, then struggled to process a deluge of applications.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  3. Returning To The Office? Get The Vaccine, Say CRE Professionals “According to a new survey of more than 500 Chicagoland brokers, investors, corporate real estate executives and others by the Real Estate Center at DePaul University, 56% said they think office users should be fully vaccinated before returning.” (Bisnow)
  4. What you need to know about Amazon's new $1.5 billion air hub in Northern Kentucky “The focal point of the facility is an 800,000-square-foot sortation building equipped with robots that help move and sort packages over miles of interlinked conveyors. Again, for comparison, this single building is roughly half the size of Paul Brown Stadium.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  5. People are starting to shun restaurants as the Delta variant spreads — especially in states where the virus risk is high “In five of some of the worst-hit states for COVID-19, restaurant reservations on OpenTable fell to 80% of 2019 levels in the past week, marking a U-turn from July, when bookings on the platform were 10% above 2019 levels.” (Insider)
  6. CMBS’ Role in Helping Fuel the Enormous Growth in For-Rent Houses “The commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market has been there, supporting its growth and institutionalization every step of the way. But, similar to SFRs in the broader market, CMBS is still building and establishing its footing within the rental homes sector.” (Commercial Observer)
  7. Party City to open 80 to 100 Halloween pop-ups; plots more store remodels “The party goods retailer plans to open 80 or 100 seasonal Halloween stores this year, compared to only 25 in 2020, when celebrations were drastically scaled back due to the pandemic. By comparison, Party City had about 250 Halloween pop-ups in 2019.” (Chain Store Age)
  8. Bidding wars erupt for renters as the economy recovers in a hot housing market “As the economy improves, workers are moving out of shared living situations and looking for their own homes. In addition, the housing market is so expensive right now that many would-be buyers are being priced out. That has them looking for rentals.” (CNBC)
  9. How Flexible Work Arrangements Will Impact Demand For Multifamily Amenities “As multifamily investors and mentors, our minds naturally turn to how this preference for remote work will impact renter amenity preferences going forward. While there is still much uncertainty, there are four trends that investors should be aware of and planning for.” (Forbes Real Estate Council)
  10. We expect full office job recovery by 2022, says Cushman and Wakefield CEO “Cushman and Wakefield CEO Brett White joins ‘Squawk on the Street’ to discuss the return to office outlook and when people will get back to the office.” (CNBC)
  11. Cuomo’s Resignation Draws ‘Sigh of Relief’ From Many in Real Estate “The real estate community has long been cautious of criticizing the governor, even after he signed tenant-friendly rent reforms in 2019, and many have been unwilling to speak on the record with their criticisms. That’s changed now that Cuomo is officially leaving office.” (Commercial Observer)
  12. Kathy Hochul faces tough decisions on real estate “When the lieutenant governor takes over for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in two weeks, she will be met on day one with a $2.7 billion rent relief program mired in delays and technical glitches. Last month Cuomo vowed to speed up the distribution of funding, saying the state would pay it all out by Aug. 31, when the eviction moratorium expires.” (The Real Deal)
  13. JLL Moves to Acquire Artificial Intelligence Startup Skyline AI “Artificial-intelligence efforts in the real-estate sector currently are benefiting from advances in cloud computing and data analytics, as well as improvements to algorithms. AI models are being used by real-estate companies such as Realogy Holdings Corp. and Zillow Group Inc. in a variety of ways, ranging from predicting the optimal percentage split between a broker and an agent on a property, to estimating a home’s market value.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  14. Construction Salaries Rise Amid Competition For Workers “Numbers show how the coronavirus pandemic affected salaries: In the first quarter of 2020, only 3% of contractors indicated a pay freeze, which is typical in boom times, the report said. By June, 14% of contractors froze pay. By September, 25% had. By year-end, it rebounded to 14%, and by May, only 4% were freezing pay.” (Bisnow)
  15. Pay cut: Google employees who work from home could lose money “Screenshots of Google's internal salary calculator seen by Reuters show that an employee living in Stamford, Connecticut - an hour from New York City by train - would be paid 15% less if she worked from home, while a colleague from the same office living in New York City would see no cut from working from home. Screenshots showed 5% and 10% differences in the Seattle, Boston and San Francisco areas.” (Reuters)
  16. Wendy's to open 700 ghost kitchens with Reef Technology “The fast food chain has also created a $100 million strategic build-to-suit development fund, which will use additional cash obtained as part of Wendy's debt refinancing computed during Q2 2021, to drive new restaurant growth. The development fund is expected to drive about 80 to 90 franchise restaurants between 2022 and 2025.” (Restaurant Dive)
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